The warning of the coming judgment continues as the prophet Amos tells them more about what they are going to face because they have rejected Gods ways and hardened their hearts. Most people do not see themselves separated from God and many believe that most people will go to Heaven as long as they are trying. To be in God’s presence is what we long for and it is what we are promised for those who believe in Jesus Christ.
Amos 8:11- 12 Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God, “when I will send a famine on the land—not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. 12 They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the Lord, but they shall not find it.
1) God’s word cannot be separated from God’s Presence
When they will no longer hear the word of God then it means they will no longer have Gods presence available to them. To receive no word from God means that God presence will not be found. God’s word is foundational for our relationship with Him and God has spoken His words into what we call the Bible. This is important for us to understand especially since false religions are coming into the church and distorting the truth of God. It is the mystics and the eastern religions that believe that words get in the way of experiencing God in His fullness. We are told to empty our minds and just sit in silence but there is no place in scripture that encourages to not dwell on the words of God.
“God acts through his words, the Word is “alive and active” (Hebrews 4:12), and therefore the way to have God dynamically active in our lives is through the Bible. To understand the Scripture is not simply to get information about God. If attended to with trust and faith, the Bible is the way to actually hear God speaking and also to meet God Himself.” (Prayer, Timothy Keller, Pg 54)
Do not buy into the lie that you can experience God on a deeper level by clearing your mind and only sitting in silence. You should always worship and pray with your mind engaged Romans 12:2;
1Corinthians 14:14-15 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. 15 What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.
A day is coming for those who will not believe when they will no longer be able to hear the word of God either because they have passed from this life or because they have hardened their hearts to the point they no longer can listen. To ignore the words of God is to ignore God Himself.
2) Our Souls Long for the presence of God.
Matthew 4:4 But he answered, “It is written,” ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Knowing that God’s word represents God Himself then we know that our hearts long for a relationship with Him. We were created to be in a loving relationship with God and it is the only thing that will satisfy our souls. The people will want the word of God but it will not be able to be found as it says , “They shall wander from sea to sea” looking for it.
If you ever lost a loved one you know the feeling of wanting to have one more conversation with them, one more hug or to just see their face one more time. We long for a day when we can see them again and reunite with them but for those who are not in Christ not only will they not reunite with their loved ones they will also not be in the presence of God.
Many preachers on Television talk about God as if He is a genie who is here to bless you with Health and wealth. We know the things of this world are temporary and they do not fulfill the longing in our hearts but we are being taught that to follow God means that He will give you every desire of your heart.
Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
The true desire of our heart is God that is why we should take delight in Him and not in the stuff He gives us. Yes He will provide for our needs but many talk as if God is around to get them every selfish desire they want. If you have ever been used by someone who you thought were your friend then you know what it is like to have someone hang around you selfishly and not for the friendship. When God gave Himself up on the cross He did so to make us be able to be in a right relationship with Him. So the question I have, Is being in the presence of God enough or do you have to have His stuff?
Habakkuk 3:17-18 Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
When people tell me that God didn’t (fill in the blank)_______________ so they do not worship Him than that tells me they do not want God they want a genie. The gifts of God have become gods in themselves and they are no longer interested in the one who we truly long for.
Jeremiah 2:13 for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.
My dad’s favorite Hymn was “In the Garden” and it is all about how we have this intimate personal relationship with God. We walk and talk with Him the way He created us to be. Our souls will never be satisfied by the things of this world, although many people try and fill their lives with them, but our souls long for our Creator and our God because He designed us to be in relationship with Him.
Romans 8:15 says we are to have a relationship with God like a son to a father. In Ephesians 5 Paul also likens our relationship with God as to marriage. The presence of God was lost in the garden when Adam and Eve sinned but through Christ it was restored and one day will be restored in its fullness. When you repent and trust in Jesus Christ for salvation we are given His Spirit inside of us (John 14:17) until we get to Heaven when we will see Him face to face. There is no mystical way through silence or chants to get closer to God because God is always with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you so you are as close to Him as you can ever be as one who has trusted in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. (Matthew 28) Just like any relationship the more time you spend with someone the more you get to know them. The more time you spend with God in His word the more you will know Him.
3) God will remove them from His presence
“They will seek the word of the Lord but they will not find it.
The people chose to ignore the warnings of God and decided they were going to live and worship how they thought was best and they lost the very thing that would have fulfilled them which is God’s presence. The worse part about the judgment of God will be the separation people will have from Him.
We told part of the story last time of the people who were given talents by their master and two of them went and were about their masters business. The third one in the parable Jesus taught tells us about people who deny the presence of God.
Matthew 25: 24- 30 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
Notice this guy was not said to do anything evil he just ignored God and lived his own life. We said last time that one of the ways that you know you are in a relationship with God is if you care about the things that God cares about. When you have a relationship with God you will desire to do the things God is doing.
2 Thessalonians 1:9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from[a] the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,
“That is why it is a travesty to picture God casting people into a pit who are crying, “I’m sorry! Let me out.” … All God does in the end with people is give them what they most want, including freedom from himself.” (The Reason for God, Pg 82, Tim Keller)
4) Heaven is about the Presence of God.
Revelation 21:3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place[a] of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people,[b] and God himself will be with them as their God.
If you are not satisfied with or if you do not want to be in the presence of God now then you will not enjoy Heaven. 1 John 3:2 says that we will see God as He is and 2 Corinthians 3:18 says we will see God face to face. That will be a miserable experience for anyone who does not want His presence. Those who put their hope and trust in the work of Jesus Christ will experience the presence of God for all eternity just like Adam and Eve did before they sinned.
When we read the Bible we experience Gods presence because Gods word and Gods presence are not separated. Our souls long for the presence of God so if you are finding yourself wandering from place to place looking for fulfillment I can tell you it will not happen apart from Christ and His word.
God will not force you to be in His presence but He does long for you to be with Him for eternity. Heaven is going to be Heavenly because we will see God face to face in a sinless state and enjoy Him forever.